CNN’s Donna Brazile Latest Victim in 2016’s Misogynistic Media Wars

donna_brazile_1

“Today we learned that CNN severed ties with longtime contributor and interim DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile. What has this to do with Comey and the FBI’s scramble to define the cork he popped out of the dangerous innuendo bottle? Quite a bit actually, especially if you’re chafed by double standards tinged with corruption and a healthy dose of misogyny.

CNN spokeswoman Lauren Pratapas was quoted as saying, “We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about [Brazile’s] interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor.” Those playing the media cynicism home game might wonder how it is that Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s former Campaign Manager and ongoing talking point parrot, retains his association with the network. He draws a salary from CNN while remaining an “informal, unpaid” advisor to the Trump campaign. No visible discomfort from the house that Ted Turner built.”

Read the full post at Contemptor.

Advertisements

Missing in Action: The Week’s Overlooked News Stories

missing

The Cubbies are coming, tra-la, tra-la! All of Chicago and Cubs Nation has shut down for Games 4, 5 and 6 of the World Series. The excitement is palpable, as is the anticipation for the November 8 conclusion of this horrendously long and agonizing presidential election. In celebration of competition everywhere, let’s look at some fun, uplifting sports stories that may have escaped your notice this week.

Olympic swimmer may have fan to thank for saving his life

“If you see something, say something” has become one of the hottest phrases of the 21st Century. It’s often dropped with regard to counter terrorism activity, but in this case the principle was exercised by a fan who noticed a suspicious mole on the chest of an Olympic swimmer. Australian Mack Horton took to social media to give a shout out to the person who contacted team doctors about the mole after seeing the athlete compete in Rio. The results of the biopsy have not been released, but this could have been life-saving outreach from a Good Samaritan.

More evidence that 2016 could be the year of the woman 

So far, 2016 has seen a tremendous public rise in demand for “equal pay for equal work.” The first female nominee for President of the United States by a major political party is poised to take the White House, and the aforementioned Summer Olympics were dominated by American women. In the sports arena, yet another glass ceiling has been shattered, this time by a surf board. For the first time in the history, women are participating in the invitation-only Titans of Mavericks competition. Hang 10 ladies!

Long suffering Cubs fan has more than one dream come true 

It’s no secret that the blood in my veins runs die-hard Cubby blue. Watching the Lovable Losers was a huge part of my childhood, and as an adult the long-term, championship-less suffering has become more acute. A running joke grew into a painful yearning for something completely out of my control. Now here we are in 2016 and the Cubs have made it to the World Series for the first time since 1945. I’m 38 and can only imagine the agony of my elders, who waited even longer for a dream come true.  This story about a 97 year-old World War II vet, lifelong Cubs fan and the generosity of a stranger will warm your heart. This kind soul is fulfilling the wishes of folks like my grandmother and great-grandmother, who didn’t love long enough to see this day, but are with all of us in spirit.

Tim Kaine: Feminism Has a Southern, White Male Face

timekaine2012

“It’s now abundantly clear that I and others who placed Kaine in the category of benign, unthreatening or more of the same had it all wrong. Because although the Senator poses no menace in the traditional, physical or emotionally aggressive sense, he is nonetheless kind of revolutionary. And a real thorn in the side of the Trump/Pence ticket.

The country has gotten to know Tim Kaine better over the last few months. Though the sole VP debate remains a shrill blight on the candidate’s otherwise appealing canvas (in interruptus style, if not policy and factual substance), liberals and moderates mostly like what they see. His approval rating is above 50 percent in his home state, notable in a land that leans red (as of the 2014 midterm elections). Nationally, there’s a little something for every voter demographic: devout Christian faith and missionary work, fluent Spanish-language skills that connect directly with 52.6 million native and second-language speakers (a population larger than Spain) and a stable legislative record largely devoid of flip flops. There’s also – pleasant surprise of all surprises for this pundit – a strong, defiant feminist streak.”

Read the full post at Contemptor.

Missing in Action: The Week’s Overlooked News Stories

 

missing

Not everything is about Donald Trump and the dumpster fire he’s cultivated from American democracy. Let’s touch on some of the news items you may have overlooked while running away from continuous cable news election coverage.

Family finds the joy amidst pain

The agony of learning your child is terminally ill is unimaginable. My sister, a valued member of the BeckySarwate.com Team and mother of two, always follows up tough parenting stories with the line “no one ever tells you THAT part.” I’m told surprises lurk behind every corner when it comes to raising children, not all of them pleasant. But this family is truly an inspiration. They have taken horrible news with grace and dignity, turning it into something immensely positive – a “joy list” of experiences to check off while they are still lucky enough to have their two year-old daughter. We all get wrapped up in daily stresses, but while reading this story of a life not wasted, take a moment to appreciate your blessings .

Bob Dylan appaerently doesn’t care about his Nobel Prize

In last week’s MIA column, we told you Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The academy had a hard time even finding Dylan to give him the prize money. It seems this very BFD does not matter at all to the peculiar artist.

While the BeckySarwate.com Team admits to not being particular fans of the music legend, we can’t help but admire a guy who’s never been in it for the glory. Cheers to you sir.

“Weird” Al Yankovic provides much needed comic relief

If you’re like me, you barely have any space remaining in your tolerance files because of this presidential election cycle. Writing about it week after week after week has seriously become an emotional drain, so I was thrilled to discover this little gem. After Wednesday’s third and final debate, the most talked about moments resulted in viral hashtags like #BadHombres and #NastyWoman. Leave it to “Weird” Al to use them to pull off the funniest video of the week, competing against the likes of Trevor Noah from the Daily Show.

Barack and Michelle Obama: Mr. and Mrs. Frustrated, Hopeful Every American

1280px-barack__michelle_obama_prepare_to_attend_fort_hood_memorial_service_2009-11-10

“I’ve been around long enough to remember presidential contests where the incumbent and his team were roundly shunned by presumed successors of the same party. Al Gore dodged Bill Clinton as much as possible in 2000, and in 2008, John McCain wisely steered clear of Dubya and his war-mongering, deficit busting tenure. This year is different. Because we have a sitting President empowered by the highest approval ratings of his second term, who cares about the progress through which he has led the American people and the threatening menace posed by an authoritarian demagogue aspiring to the White House. And he is married to a partner of equal rhetorical gifts and passion for her gender, our children and our country.

Hillary Clinton is going to make a fine Commander in Chief. She is smart, tough, experienced, empathetic and practical. But damn those Obamas are something else, aren’t they?”

Read the full post for Contemptor.

 

Come Back to the Trail Hillary: You Have Much More to Say

clinton003

“As Donald Trump’s institutionalized misogyny and penchant for sexual assault continue to grab headlines, Team Hillary remains steadfast that her perspective on these issues should be simple – she doesn’t have one. After all, her husband, former President Bill Clinton had/has his own infidelity challenges, so she can’t touch Trump’s perversions. His campaign is only too happy to jump on her own alleged aggression toward Bill Clinton’s accusers.

Allow me to dissent from the generally accepted school of thought that quiet is a good thing. A silent Clinton is not doing herself – or the nation – any favors. I’m all for Hillary’s temporary seclusion to prepare and brace for a debate tomorrow night in which anything – quite literally – could happen. With Trump in the full scorched earth mode of almost certain November defeat, she has to be ready. However I’m also inclined to agree with Joel Benenson, Clinton’s Chief Strategist and Pollster, who told The New York Times last week: ‘You take nothing for granted…You campaign all the way to the end, and you regularly look at what’s ahead and you manage time and resources to get the most value out of the candidate’s time around the country.'”

Read the full post at Contemptor.

I Am You: An Open Letter to Trump’s Accusers and Promoters of Rape Culture

Alongside my partner Bob and my two nieces, I love my sister Jennifer more than anyone in the world. It breaks my heart that Fall has had a way in recent years, of bringing about events that move my her to share heartbreaking personal stories. However my pride in her courage and willingness to open up, to create dialogue and change, is beyond description. Ladies and gentlemen, please read this week’s important guest post.

2000px-teal_ribbon_svg

I don’t consider myself a writer, and I certainly didn’t want to write this piece. But just as it was last November, current events, personal experience and an acute sense of universal injustice compel me to speak. Although I work in broadcast communications as a career, my private life is something I guard with care. This is a difficult story for me to tell. But here it is because tell it I must…

Women are coming forward in droves with horrifying tales of physical violation. These stories do more than provide corroboration for the sick words Donald Trump spoke on the now-famous Access Hollywood tape from 2005. These reports lay bare that Trump’s vile rhetoric was much more than indiscrete “locker room talk” The accounts of these women expose a pattern of frightening, inhumane Trump experiences, experiences which he is of course refuting. When pressed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper during the second presidential debate on Sunday October 8, Trump claimed that his revolting dialogue was just loose “guys will be guys” bluster. Certainly he never assaulted anyone….

Tell that to the multitude of women over decades who experienced traumas verbatim to what Trump described to disgraced Today Show anchor Billy Bush. A particularly disturbing account from a former People magazine reporter sent chills down my spine. I don’t have to imagine the humiliation and terror she must have felt being violated on the job by a powerful man.

It’s not hard to put myself in Natasha Stoynoff’s shoes because like far too many women (conservative estimates place the incidence at 1 in 6), I have been a victim of sexual assault. More than once. The first violation occurred was when I was 12 years old, walking down a neighborhood street with my older sister. A man walking in the opposite direction grabbed my breast, gave a satisfied leer and continued on. I can never forget that look, like he was certain something erotic had passed between us, the disgusting, humiliating intimacy it suggested. Sickening. Though other passerby and drivers on the busy road must have seen something, no one bothered to help. I was a child assaulted in broad urban daylight.

Though this unnamed educator never crossed the line to physical contact, as a senior in high school, I experienced systematic degradation from an AP English Language teacher. Every time I raised my hand to participate in class, I was acknowledged by the “pet name” Cookie Buns. After many such publicly embarrassing, misogynist incidents, I stopped raising my hand. This man did more to negatively impact my education (academically, and the school of life) than he will ever know.

That same year, a stranger followed me home from the train to my apartment vestibule. Initially, I wasn’t sure if he lived in the building. Anonymous city life. Then he pinned me against the door of my unit and started to reach up my skirt. It was shrill screaming and the insane barking from my very large Golden Retriever, Max (always keenly on the lookout for threats to my safety) from behind the locked door that saved me from what was certain to be rape, if not more. After my attacker fled, I was so shaken I couldn’t dial 911 for several minutes. I also blamed myself for what happened. I remember crying and asking, “Why did I wear a skirt today?!” But the tragedy wasn’t complete until a male neighbor later told me he heard my screams but thought I was “horsing around.” That man, a member of my community, could have intervened or called authorities. Maybe the sicko who attacked me would have been caught. To my knowledge, he never was.

I wish this was the end of my story. But it’s not. In my early 20s, I was grabbed by the breasts (again) by a drunk supervisor at a company event. Some of my colleagues witnessed this, as the assault took place in a crowded room. I went to another (female) supervisor, embarrassed and enraged. I naively figured she’d move quickly to address the obvious impropriety. Instead she all but dismissed the incident with this observation: “I assumed you’d be okay with it.”

Boys will be boys, right? Never mind that I’d done nothing to invite that kind of behavior, or that I was married with a child. What kind of person publicly acts out his sick private thoughts and keeps his job? I’m sure it will surprise few women to know that he did remain employed. Years later, when we professionally encountered each other again, he pretended not to know who I was. Another tactic to obfuscate and rob me of my dignity.

This is the society we live in. A society in which we blame and shame the victim, call them liars, insist that they “asked for it.” No matter what anyone says, this is why Trump’s targets didn’t come forward sooner. Sexual assault is an isolating, psychologically gutting experience. It’s reasonable to believe these women were looking for a safe sign to come out of the shadows. The leaked Access Hollywood tape and Trump’s bold, arrogant denials provided that signal. It’s beyond maddening that these accounts are being tossed aside by some for political expediency since we are a month away from an election. Very inconvenient for Republicans. Another classic case of victimizing the victim, forcing them to relieve trauma all over again.

I confessed my struggle with putting this story out for public consumption. I have experienced the denial, the shame, the fear and the isolation. Frankly, it’s not a side of me I want people to know, especially my daughters. I don’t want them to think of their mommy in danger or, worse, fear for their own safety. But this story is bigger than one narrative. I am Trump’s victims and they are me. And although women bear the brunt of our society’s rape culture, too many boys and men have also been violated, or love someone that has suffered and continues to suffer. Paralyzing fear is a tool of the oppressor. I’m done being oppressed. Staying silent does nothing.

This story is for all those with an agenda, attempting to invalidate a women’s personhood or trauma. You’re disgusting and on the wrong side of history.

This story is for those who haven’t talked about their harassment and/or assault, regardless of the reason. You deserve to be heard, and I believe you.

This story is for all the young boys and girls who may experience unwanted, unasked for aggression in the future. Anyone who behaves in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable is in the wrong. Period. Speak up. Scream as loud as you need to.

This story is for anyone who isn’t yet clear about respecting other human beings. Assume nothing. You have no fundamental right to someone’s body. Don’t touch anyone without permission.

History will not be kind to the 2016 presidential election and its Republican standard bearer. But we can learn. And we can start healing wounds and prevent future damage. We have a common interest in doing so.

“The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane.”

– Mahatma Gandhi